Hydrology

A snowy mountain landscape with pine trees an untouched powder.

Few things are more vital to a community's health than the quality and safety of its water supply. Hydrologists play a key role in protecting this precious resource.

Degree programs in Hydrology

  • Ph.D.
  • Masters
  • Accelerated Ph.D. program for undergraduates
  • Accelerated Masters program for undergraduates

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Hydrology (72 credits)

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Hydrology must satisfy all general requirements of the Graduate School and the M.S. degree in Hydrology. SLOs for the degree are that students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic level of competency in the general field of hydrology and in their area of research
  2. Explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication
  3. Complete research in their field of study, including answering specific question(s) in conjunction with the advisor and dissertation committee
  4. Demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for their sub-discipline

The Doctoral degree in Hydrology requires 72 credits beyond the Bachelor degree, successful completion of a qualifying examination after the first year of study, and 1 credit of Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination credit may count toward the required 30 credits of 700-level coursework. 24 credits of dissertation credits must be applied to the Doctoral degree, and students must sign up for these credits in the department of their advisor. A maximum of 24 credits of course work (with grades of “B” or better) from a completed master’s degree program may be allocated toward the doctoral degree upon completion and approval of a Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form. Up to 18 credits of 700-level courses may be transferred from the master’s degree program. All work towards a doctoral degree must be completed within eight (8) years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Credits transferred into doctoral degree from a completed master’s degree are exempt from this eight-year limit.

A B.S. or B.A.-to-Ph.D. degree program is available for students with exceptionally strong academic qualifications, prior experience in hydrologic or related research, and demonstrated science/technical writing expertise. Students interested in proceeding directly to the Doctoral degree should contact the GPHS Director for further guidance.

The Doctorate of Philosophy in Hydrology allows flexibility to allow students to follow one or more of the broad areas of surface water hydrology and to allow for specialization. All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through the shared core courses. Additional requirements for the degree include a course in watershed hydrology to provide an overview/introduction of surface water processes and one or more specialization courses in surface water hydrology.

Master of Science in Hydrology

Student education and research examine the broad area of surface water hydrology, including but not limited to: hydraulics, water quality, limnology, watershed hydrology and rehabilitation and geomorphology. Students follow the shared core of five courses that provide the fundamentals of hydrologic fluid mechanics and introductions to surface and ground water hydrology and environmental chemistry as well as two credits of seminar in Hydrologic Sciences. Student learning outcomes (SLOs) for the degree are that students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic level of competency in the general field of hydrology
  2. Explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication
  3. Complete research in their field of study, including answering specific question(s) in conjunction with the advisor and thesis committee
  4. Demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for their sub-discipline

Students can pursue a Master of Science degree either with Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis option). Because of the diverse nature of the skill sets needed by students, additional credits beyond the University minimums are required. The Masters of Science Plan A degree in Hydrology requires a minimum of 31 credits beyond the Bachelor degree, of which at least 18 credits (including 6 credits of thesis) must be at the 700-level.

Students must sign up for thesis credits in the department of their advisor. For the non- thesis option (Plan B), a minimum of 32 credits is required with at least 15 credits at the 700-level (including 2 credits of Professional Paper). Students should consult with their advisor and the GPHS Director for guidance on choice of plan options. In general however, the Plan B option should be considered as a terminal degree. All work towards a master’s degree must be completed within six (6) years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. For more information on credit requirements, students should consult the UNR General Catalog.

The Master of Science in Hydrology degree allows flexibility to allow students to follow one or more of the broad areas of surface water hydrology and to allow for specialization. All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through the shared core courses. Additional requirements for the degree include one or more specialization courses in surface water hydrology.